Video Game: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

Who said good games had to be epic in scale?
Thrall: "It is said that wars are only won upon the anvil of honor"
Jaina: "Others believe victory requires strategy, and a mastery of power"
Illidan: "War is deception, a game played best from the shadows"
Garrosh: "Only strength and raw power can assure total dominance!"
Innkeeper: "But o'course, you could forget all o' that... And just have fun!"

The pet project of a few Blizzard Entertainment employees turned into an experiment in less-than-epic game development for the company, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is an online game released on PC, iPad and Android tablets based on Warcraft's discontinued Collectible Card Game.

The game is very streamlined compared to the original CCG, featuring mana as a resource which is automatically gained without having to play/sacrifice card, and resources are capped at ten. Like the original, characters have persistent health pools - health doesn't regenerate at the end of a turn if the creature wasn't killed.

There are nine classes to play (the original nine of the World of Warcraft classes), each represented by a character from the Warcraft universe, and each class has a special hero power costing two mana, which can be used once a turn (another change from the original, where hero abilities could only be used once period). Depending on what class you play, you gain access to specific class-only cards, along with neutral creature (or minion) cards that every class can use.

In July 2014, the first adventure mode called 'The Curse of Naxxramas was released. Adventure modes feature 5 wings (much like World of Warcraft instances, and indeed Naxxramas is based on the classic WoW raid of the same name) of battling AI mini-bosses with unique hero powers as well as newly released cards. Upon defeating each enemy, players receive new cards as rewards, in addition to a legendary card for beating each wing. Additionally, unlocking and completing the class-specific challenges yields the special reward for each class, and the Heroic version of the adventure is enough to give the most daring veterans a run for their money.

The first expansion set, Goblins vs Gnomes, was announced at BlizzCon 2014 and released in December of that year with 120 new cards.

The characters subpage is here.

Tropes appearing in Hearthstone:

  • Achilles' Heel: Many heroes or specific deck strategies usually have at least one glaring weakness, even if it's a single type of card effect.
    • Legendary minions are usually vulnerable to silences, turning them into cost-inefficient bog-standard minions. Such legendaries are also vulnerable to being copied with Faceless Manipulator or stolen by the opponent using Sylvanas Windrunner (neutral) or Mind Control (Priest).
    • Strategies reliant on beefing up one minion or dependent on one card's continuous effect can be similarly undone with a silence. Like the above, these cards can also be stolen by then enemy and cause disaster.
    • High-damage cards are vulnerable to single-target elimination spells, including Shadow Word: Death for Priests (5 attack and up), Assassinate for Rogues (any attack level), and Big Game Hunter as a neutral minion (Battlecry: destroy an enemy minion with 7 or more attack).
    • Rush strategies are usually impeded by cost-efficient Taunt minions, since these force them to trade two or more minions to get through them if they can't be eliminated through other means. Filling one's board with cheap, weak creatures is also vulnerable to boardclear and AOE spells.
    • Weapons and weapon-reliant classes like Warrior and Rogue can be screwed over by cards that destroy weapons(I.E. Harrison Jones, Swamp Ooze, Sabotage, Bloodsail Corsair).
    • Taunt minions can force attacks toward them, but they can't do anything about spells or hero powers targeting their allies or their hero. They're also vulnerable to being destroyed by a Black Knight (Battlecry: destroy an enemy minion with Taunt) or being silenced, though at least most minions will keep their stats.
    • Some minions have a drawbacks such as harmful Deathrattles (effect that triggers when the minion dies) and Battlecries, or ones that help the opposing player in exchange for more efficient stats.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes:
    • After achieving level 10 with heroes, you no longer get basic cards with each level and instead get golden versions of the same cards. They're neat-looking and have some additional animation, but they're purely cosmetic and can take a long time to unlock the ones in the highest levels.
    • Golden versions of the heroes can be unlocked by winning with them 500 ranked games. Each.
  • An Axe to Grind: Garrosh has the largest number of weapon cards, and all of them are axes.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Hearthstone reworks some concepts found in other TCGs and makes them easier to use. The most important of this is the mana system; Rather than having to have specific cards in hand to extend your mana (like Magic: The Gathering's land cards) or sacrificing potentially useful cards for mana (like the old Warcraft TCG), the game automatically gives you a mana crystal turn by turn (up to a maximum of 10).
    • Unlike other Play Every Day games, Daily Quests don't have to be done that day and up to 3 can be saved and quests can be cancelled to get another one (once a day). If you get a quest to, say, win X games as a hero you don't have a deck for, you have the option to either take your time to build a good deck up or re-roll it and try to get a better one.
    • The game provides alternatives to some cards' effects should their primary effects be rendered inapplicable/useless, although the secondary effects are generally weak.
    The Druid spell Wild Growth gives you an empty mana crystal, which means you will have more mana than normal starting from the next turn. But you can only hold up to 10 mana crystals during the game, so playing Wild Growth when you already have 10 mana crystal will not give you another mana crystal, but rather, an Excess Mana card which you can use to draw a card for free.
    The Warlock spell Sense Demons randomly picks up two demons from your deck to put into your hand. But in case you don't have enough Demons left in your deck, the game will instead give you a 1-mana 1-attack 1-health Imp Demon as a replacement for each shortage.
    The Priest spell Mindgames summons a random minion from an opponent's deck (that is, one that hasn't been drawn yet). In the event that there are no more minions to draw, a 0/1 Shadow of Nothing card is summoned instead ("Mindgames whiffed! Your opponent had no minions left!").
    • A lot of legendaries have effects that trigger on the end of the users turn, ensuring that you will get that benefit at least once before your opponent will most likely neutralize it if they can.
    • You can turn spare cards into material to craft cards you want. The game even has an option to automatically do this with cards that you have more copies of than you can use anyway (more than two for most, or more than one for legendaries). And if you don't care for shiny, golden cards, you can disenchant them for tons of dust to make multiple non-golden cards.
    • You also get easy access to a basic deck for each hero, with a few more basic cards being unlocked as you level the them to level 10. And you can't lose any of the basic cards so the option to try another hero is always there.
    • Whenever a "deal X damage to random targets" is cast, the game will avoid overkilling minions and just switch to other ones. For example, casting Avenging Wrath as a Paladin (8 damage to random enemies) will hit that 1-health minion then stop hitting it so that the damage isn't wasted.
    • If your opponent sits for a while without doing anything, a fuse will appear across the middle of the board. If it burns down, their turn ends... and all their subsequent turns start with the fuse, until they actually make an action. This is probably not anti-frustrating for your opponent, but since you don't have to wait for god-knows-how-long until they finally play something, you're probably happy.
      • this is specifically meant to counter "connection turtling". IE, your opponent deliberately stalling until you get frustrated and quit, giving them a win.
  • Anti-Magic:
    • The mage secret Counterspell immediately negates the first spell an opponent plays.
    • Silencing a card removes any text, abilities, and buffs on it. To eliminate constant board effects granted by other cards, such as the +1/+1 from Stormwind Champion, target the minion providing the buff instead.
    • Polymorph and Hex effectively do the same thing by turning the minion into a entirely different, weak creature.
  • Anti-Poop Socking : You get a daily quest where you can earn 40 or 60 gold from (or 100 gold from one quest), but once that's done you can only earn 10 gold by winning 3 games, which is a slow way to farm for gold. You can potentially win gold from the Arena if you win enough matches, but it costs 150 gold to enter (unless you pay with cash). You need to win more than 50 gold in prizes to make a profit if one accounts for the pack of cards (worth 100 gold) that's automatically given out as a prize. There are several achievements that grant gold, but not enough of them to be a reliable source of gold: the only ones that give gold are for unlocking all the heroes, all the basic cards, beating all the expert hero decks on practice mode, winning 100 games, winning 1000 games, and collecting all the cards.
  • Apologetic Attacker:
    • Due to "Sorry" being one of the six options on the emote system, players can invoke it to varying degrees. It's specially appropriate (or cruel, depending on your perpective) when you're about to wipe the entire board by casting a Consecration, Lightning Storm or a Flamestrike. The most amusing "Sorry" quote probably goes to Lord Jaraxxus:
    Jaraxxus: JARAXXUS IS... sorry.
    • Alexstraza also qualifies with her attack quote "I will mourn your death"
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: A common trope in the flavor texts.
    SI:7 Agent: The agents of SI:7 are responsible for Stormwind's covert activities. Their duties include espionage, assassination, and throwing surprise birthday parties for the royal family.
  • Arc Villain: Kel'thuzad makes his return as the Big Bad of Curse of Naxxramas.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The practice mode AI was never very challenging, but with the Curse of Naxxramas patch it became a lot more obvious that the Hearthstone AI… isn’t very smart. Examples include playing minions in the wrong order so that they don’t gain synergy which they would have otherwise had, making questionable trades, and in the case of Loatheb, using a Faceless Manipulator to clone a Spore. The developers compensated for this by massively buffing the Naxxramas bosses and giving them overpowered cards that aren’t even available to players, which implies they’ve pretty much admitted defeat in getting the Hearthstone AI to anywhere near player level.
  • Ascended Meme: Several memes from World of Warcraft have carried over to this game, such as the Raid Leader's summoning response ("Handle it!"), battlecry when attacking ("Hit it very hard!") and flavor text. ("That's a 50 DKP minus!")
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: The general strategy of an aggro deck or a rush deck is to hit the enemy hero relentlessly with charge minions and spells, pausing only to get rid of any Taunt minions that get in the way. The Hunter is particularly good at this, as his hero power lets him keep shooting the enemy hero for 2 damage and can't be mitigated by taunts. The Warlock Zoo Deck is pretty much this taken to the extreme: it consist mostly of cheap creatures, small buffs, and a lot of burst damage. Abusing the Warlock card draw hero power, this deck usually forgoes all non-essential board control and just seeks to absolutely steamroll opponents with tons of small, annoying, efficient minions and burst damage before they can control the board, stabilize and restore Health.
  • Awesome but Impractical: This is the main point of the legendary cards, boasting unique abilities, flashy effects, and act as methods of ending the game. Most legendaries, however, are very specific in their use, have drawbacks, or those flashy effects make them cost more than their non-legendary counterparts. Their power also tends to mark them as prime targets of hard removal spells such as Polymorph and Hex or silencing effects.
    • Millhouse Manastorm is 2 mana, 4 damage, 4 health, which is very difficult to deal with in turn one or two. The catch is that next turn, the opponent gets all spells for free. So, unless you're lucky and manage to get away with it, playing him leads to hilariously disastrous results. (Such as zero-cost Sprint, Pyroblast, Blessing of Kings, Mind Control...)
    • King Mukla is 3 mana, 5 damage, 5 health. Played on an empty board, he's an impressive threat (especially early in the game). However, playing him means giving the opponent two Bananas, which can be used to buff minions by 1 damage and 1 health for 1 mana per card. So you're essentially giving the opponent extra buffs to use anytime, which can backfire later on...
      • However, it turns out that King Mukla's effect can be used to devastating potential in mill decks, where the goal is to force a loss by filling up your opponent's and and making them overdraw, burning powerful cards or taking extra fatigue damage. Since the two Bananas are separate cards, playing Mukla right before another card that draws your opponent cards means two fewer spaces for cards in their hand. This is especially effective when comboed with Coldlight Oracle, which draws both players two cards, Naturalize, which destroys an enemy minion for 1 mana but draws your opponent two cards, and Sap or Vanish, which return one or all minions to their player's hand - destroying the card if there isn't room for it.
    • Tirion Fordring is 8 mana, 6 damage, 6 health, with divine shield and taunt, and a deathrattle which gives you a five attack, three durability weapon. Incredibly powerful unless he is silenced - whereupon he's left a mere 6/6 minion for 8 mana. A druid can get an 8/8 minion with taunt for the same price. Even worse is the possibility that he gets copied by Faceless Manipulator or outright stolen with Mind Control or Sylvanas Windrunner, as he's one of the more desirable legendaries to take alive...
    • Harrison Jones is 5 mana, 5 damage, 4 health with a battlecry that turns your opponents weapon into cards for you. Against non-weapon classes, this card is bog-standard 5/4 minion for 5 mana - and thus the common card 'Silver Hand Knight' would be a much better bet. Non-weapon classes can have the potential to copy or steal any weapon cards that your own class has, but this is far from a sure thing.
    • Jaraxxus, Eredar Lord of the Burning Legion is 9 mana, 3 damage, 15 health, sacrifices your hero for a new one with 15 health and a VERY powerful hero ability. But because of how much Jaraxxus costs to bring to the field, unless you've been holding on to your coin for the whole game, or using a card to lower his cost (e.g. Summoning Portal), that hero ability can't be put to use before next turn, and the infernal it summons can't attack until the turn after that - and using him at more than 15 health effectively causes damage to yourself. Additionally, playing him against another Warlock is a gamble unless you are certain that he has no Sacrificial Pacts...
    • Bolvar Fordragon, a 1 attack, 7 health minion for 5 mana with the unique ability of gaining one attack in your hand every time one of your friendly minions dies and is the proud owner of a ridiculously badass entry animation. If held in hand for a while he can have an eye-melting 20 attack, more than enough to overkill every minion in the game, which can be instantly nullified by the opponent with a simple silence. Additionally, he is a dreadful card to draw when topdecking, because of how unbelievably inefficient his base stats are compared to his cost. At the very least, he can soak a silence instead of the similarly susceptible Tirion Fordring.
    • Deathwing, in terms of raw stats, is the single most powerful minion in the game. He has 12 attack and 12 life, meaning he can one-hit kill any other minion in the game, and survive. When played from your hand, he destroys ALL other minions on the field, clearing all immediate threats instantly. But he costs ten mana, and playing him means discarding your entire hand, so while he makes an incredibly powerful entrance, you are relying on top-decking for the next few turns, and likely unable to defend him, especially from spells that remove any minion regardless of stats.
    • Ragnaros the Firelord subverts this. Costing 8 mana, he's a 8/8 that cannot attack but will deal 8 damage to a random enemy at the end of your turn, without fearing retaliation. The subversion comes in that while he's still vulnerable to Transform or Destroy effects, he is not as vulnerable to Silence as other Legendaries do, as Silencing him still results in a 8/8 minion that is now free to ravage the board.
  • Badass Adorable: Some cards have rather cutesy name and/or artwork (Li'l Exorcist, Wee Spellstopper, Pint-Sized Summoner, to name but a few), but this doesn't stop them from being effective in combat. Special mention to the Annoy-o-Trons, which have been known to tank TWO Deathwings at once.
  • Bad Boss: It's one thing to send your minions to die, it's another thing to actually destroy them directly with your own cards. Do note that killing or damaging your own minions can be advantageous- one feasible strategy is to smack an Enrage minion with a nominal amount of damage in order to get their attack sky-high quickly.
    • Judging from his name, Abusive Sergeant would seem to be one but it doesn't really reflect in gameplay since he actually boosts the attack of a minion. Cruel Taskmaster, on the other hand, actually damages a minion when he is played.
    • Lampshaded with the Void Terror's note  flavor text
    If you put this into your deck, you WILL lose the trust of your other minions
  • Baleful Polymorph: Mages can use Polymorph to turn minions into a 1/1 Sheep and Shamans can use Hex to turn a minion into a 0/1 Toad that has Taunt, though this spell costs less than Polymorph.
  • Barrier Warrior: Uther can give his minions Divine Shield with a spell or an exclusive minion.
  • Battle Cry: Cards with the trope name cause an effect whenever played through normal means. From dealing damage, to summoning creatures, to silencing minions, or, in the case of Jaraxxus to replacing your hero. Most legendary cards also enter to a battlecry of their choice.
    Tirion Fordring: Put your faith in the Light!
  • Better to Die Than Be Killed: Players can "concede" if certain they will be defeated, which is effectively a suicide option, saving time for everyone involved and denying the opponent the chance to get the killing blow.
    • Garrosh's "I choose death!" is even more interesting when you realize that his game-opener line is "Victory or Death!"
    • It's also quite common for beaten players to commit suicide with their cards instead of choosing "concede"—with style points for showy or elaborate suicides (e.g. buffing an enemy minion, attacking the minion to take damage, then being cherry tapped by the minion's deathrattle).
  • BFS: Most of Uther's weapon cards. The Truesilver Champion heals him as he attacks, the Sword of Justice buffs minions he summons at the cost of durability, and the Ashbringer (equipped when Tirion Fordring dies) is just a really big, really tough sword.
  • Big Ball of Violence: The visual effect of using the Warrior's Brawl card.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Northshire Cleric, perhaps. See Fridge Horror.
  • Boring but Practical
    • Weak but cost-efficient cards for their effects. Yes, it's intimidating to have a Deathwing on your side of the field, but remember that the costly 10 Mana and hand-wiping card can just be undone instantly by a Big Game Hunter (Battlecry: destroy one minion with more than 7 attack) costing only 3 mana. Similarly, possessing a cheap Silence card can topple enemy strategies contingent on a single minion's effect, which can go a long way toward winning.
    • Basic cards for each class are usually not enough to make crazy strategies or decks from, but they are solid cost-efficient cards that you can always depend on. They're easy to make an effective deck with, even by beginners, but careful play by an expert can trump any number of fancy strategies. It's a commonly-cited fact that several of Hearthstone's top players have made it to Legend rank (the highest tier in ranked play) multiple times over using purely basic decks to prove a point.
    • The Boulderfist Ogre and Chillwind Yeti have excellent stats for their costs and are difficult to get rid of, but have no other effect. They are still considered two of the most cost-efficient minions in the game, often forcing your opponent to trade 2-for-1 or burn an expensive removal card to get rid of them.
    Boulderfist Ogre's flavor text: "ME HAVE GOOD STATS FOR THE COST"
    • Some of the Neutral card-drawing cards, such as Loot Hoarder and Novice Engineer, may not be as amazing as some of the flashier card-drawing cards or combos (such as Hunter's Starving Buzzard + Unleash The Hound/Snake Trap combo, or Rogue's Sprint), but their cheap cost and relatively reliable self-replacing effects can do wonders in getting your actual game-winning cards to use later in the game.
    • The Mage's Flamestrike is a basic card, meaning it's common and everyone has one. But it is the single most feared Board Clear in the game, and the holy standard to judge others. A single application of this spell at the right moment can completely reverse the tempo of the game.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing:
    • The Giant cards. Their effects lower their mana costs based on particular aspects of the match (Sea Giant costs 1 less per minion on the board, Mountain Giant costs 1 less per card in the owner's hand, Clockwork Giant costs 1 less per card in the opponents hand, and Molten Giant costs 1 less per owner's health missing), meaning they can come out fairly early, with the Molten Giant and Sea Giant having the capability of costing 0 depending on the circumstances. They also have 8/8 stats, making them on par with the 8 mana Ironbark Protector.
    • Edwin VanCleef, who starts as a 2/2 for 3, but gains +2/+2 for every other card played within the turn before he is summoned. Proper play can result in a 12/12 as early as turn 5, a set of stats matched by the 10 mana Deathwing.
    • Lord Jaraxxus is literally this if one considers heroes to be the bosses. He is unique among minions in that summoning him normally (rather than having him pulled directly to the field) makes him into the hero instead of Gul'dan.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory:
    • It's a Collectible Card Game, so this is unavoidable since a rich player can buy lots of booster packs, but there are some mechanics in place to mitigate it: You can earn cards (more slowly) through regular playing and completing daily challenges, and you're limited to no more than two of any particular card per deck. As it stands, money can only buy booster packs, whose contents are determined randomly anyway, and easier access to the Curse of Naxxaramas wings, though these are also purchasable with gold and the card rewards have to be earned anyways. So while money can get you options, it can't directly buy you power.
    • Averted with Arena mode, where players must choose from 3 random heroes and construct their decks from a pre-set list of cards, eliminating any advantage from grinding or paying for great cards for fairness' sake. The only advantage a player can get is through experience with the game (and a healthy dose of sheer dumb luck).
    • Worth noting is that, as stated under Boring but Practical, it's possible to actually make a pretty decent deck with the cards you start out with. Essentially the neutral Basic collection is full of simple, no frills cards with easy to understand effects, whereas Expert cards are more situational and strategic. People can (and have) made competitive decks using only Basic cards, but they don't tend to have any complex strategies or combos like the Expert level decks do.
  • Cast from Hit Points: Warlocks commonly sacrifice their health for spells and summons, including their hero power. Can be mitigated in part by Life Drain spells.
    • The Imp Master minion summons a 1/1 Imp at the end of every turn at the cost of losing one health.
    • Rogue and Warriornote  often use their hp as secondary resource, where they will tank the damage and remove enemy minions with their Weapon. Smacking their face a few times can deter them from doing so.
  • Catch Phrase: Every card has a line for when it's summoned and when it's selected, and some have become quite popular amongst players and streamers.
    Defias Ringleader: This is our town, scrub!
    Defias Bandit: Yeah, beat it!
  • Combos: There are many possible card combos that can be pulled off; for example, a common Mage one is to Polymorph a high-stat threat (turning it into a 1/1 Sheep) then finishing it off with a 1-damage Fireblast (always available as a Hero Power). It's a named mechanic for Rogue-exclusive cards, who usually gain additional effects or potency if used in succession, making it possible to load a deck with cheap Combo cards and keep hitting the opponent as fast as possible.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The Curse of Naxxramas expansion introduces single-player "boss" fights. The normal version of these bosses already have hero powers that are just too cheapnote , in addition to cheap exclusive spells and several cards with no card limit note , and the heroic versions are far worse — they start with much more health than a player and devastating abilities that cost little to no mana.
    • Another example of the computer being able to blatantly eschew the rules takes place during the battle with Kel'Thuzad: If you're a Hunter and you attempt to play the the Animal Companion card, instead of getting any of your normal three options, you will instead get a 1/1 Mr. Bigglesworth.note  That's not the cheating part, however - if you manage to give Mr. Bigglesworth Taunt with a card like Houndmaster or Defender of Argus, KT's minions will ''bypass'' Mr. Bigglesworth to continue hitting you directly, as though he isn't taunting at all! Though considering that said kitty belongs to their master, it makes sense that they would refuse to kill it.
    • Kel'Thuzad also instantly ends your turn when you destroy all his armor, even if you aren't done playing your other cards.
  • Continuity Nod: The various pieces of music played while the matchmaker reel is spinning are taken from the Warcraft II soundtrack (still considered by many as one of the greatest RTS soundtracks of all time).
  • Cool, but Inefficient: Many "cheese" or gimmick decks that depend on a single trick or just throw all caution to the wind. These usually will not hold up against a well-crafted Boring but Practical deck but are very entertaining if they actually succeed. One example is the 28 legendary deck (with 2 Faceless Manipulators to make even more legendaries). Even remotely competitive? Heck no. Fun? Heck yes.
  • Counterattack: If an aggro deck is Attack! Attack! Attack!, then a control deck is this. Playing a late game deck usually requires one to think like an aikido master: patiently waiting for an opponent to strike so they can counter it and make them pay for it (one example being the Paladin Wild Pyromancer + Equality combo, which uses 2 cards to clear the board of many more enemy cards). It's not unheard for late game decks to spend turns 1-9 dealing minimal damage to the enemy hero so that they have time to set up a huge counterattack.
  • Critical Existence Failure: As a saying amongst the Collectible Card Game community goes: "The only health that matters is the difference between one and zero". This applies especially to Priests, who can keep healing their minions as long as their HP does not reach zero by their turn. Of course, you have cards like Molten Giants, which only get cheaper the more damaged you are, that encourage you to take risks without getting yourself killed.
    • The Lightspawn card for priests averts this by having its attack always be equal to its health. Of course, this works both ways, and boosting the health of a Lightspawn is an easy way to make it a powerhouse.
    • Some heroes can have Armor, which stacks on top of your hero's Health, and in most cases just acts as extra life. There are rare circumstances where the hero can have zero or less Health from a spell, but have Armor stacked on top immediately afterwards. Unfortunately, it does not matter how armored up your hero is if their Health is zero or less, you're still dead, and that extra life is worthless.
  • Crutch Character: "Rush" or "Aggro" decks apply heavy pressure from turn 1 by overwhelming the opponent with lots of minions and burst damage. The downside is that these kind of decks need to dominate early on and force an early win before they run out of steam and the opponent can roll out their late game cards.
  • Cursed with Awesome: The Ogre cards from GvG have chance to attack a different target than you ordered them to. However, this also makes them able to bypass Taunt minions.
  • Cycle of Hurting: The Mistress of Pain minion from GvG heals your hero for the amount of damage she deals. In case a player with Auchenai Soulpriest took control of this minion, her healing effect will instead damage the hero... except that counts as another damage done by Mistress, which means she will try to heal the hero and only end up hurting him again, and that counts as yet another damage done, and she tries to heal and ends up hurting again... Long story short, do NOT play a Mistress of Pain with Auchenai Soulpriest. Word of God is that this is not a bug.
  • Death Is Dramatic: You would expect nothing less of Jaraxxus, EREDAR LORD OF THE BURNING LEGION!
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: The goal of the game is to establish board control. Once you've established board control, that 1-2 damage minion can deal disproportionate amount of damage through the match.
  • Death or Glory Attack: Several cards can be this. For instance, summoning Deathwing completely clears the board, but requires you to discard your hand. Good when your enemy has few, if any card himself, not so good if he has a removal or Mind Control.
  • Defeat Equals Friendship: Completing each wing of Naxxramas rewards you with a Legendary minion version of that wing's end boss character.
  • Deflector Shield: Minions with Divine Shield are impervious to the first hit they take, regardless of damage.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Several cards have hidden lines that are only heard in certain (often unexpected) situations, just in case the criteria are ever met.
    • The Druid minion Druid of the Claw normally lets you choose between giving it charge or two health and Taunt when summoning it, and has different attack quotes for each. But when you summon it through Alarm-o-Bot, a minion that swaps directly with minions in your hand and bypassing the choice, the quote is "I have lost my powers!"
    • The 2/1 Defender, summoned by the Paladin secret Noble Sacrifice, usually dies immediately when the secret is activated. But if it manages to survive, it says "Ahaha, I lived!" when attacking.
    • The Neutral minion Doomsayer destroys all minions (including itself) at the beginning of your next turn. Minions cannot attack the turn they enter the field, and he´s also 0/7, so he cannot attack even if given Charge. If he somehow gets some attack and is silenced/given charge, his attack quote is "Did I miss it?"
    • Another 0-attack minion is the Shieldbearer, basically a low-cost damage sponge. If you buff it to allow it to attack, its quote is a very enthusiastic "Payback time!"
    • Some legendary cards will have special lore-relevant responses if used against a particular hero. Playing Illidan Stormrage will get the special quote "Hello... brother" if the opponent is Malfurion Stormrage. Similarly, playing Cairne Bloodhoof against Garrosh Hellscream will cause him to scold him and call him unfit to rule the Horde.
    • Out of the nine classes, the mage, priest, and warlock are the only ones incapable of attacking with their hero, as they lack weapons. Through various means (ex: using Lorewalker Cho to take a druid's Claw spell, or by using a Faceless Manipulator to clone Tirion Fordring), it is possible to attack with these classes, and they all have lines for such an occasion. The Priest shouts "By the light!", the Warlock exhorts his enemy to "SUFFER!", while the Mage declares "I'm Ready!".
    • The Warlock legendary Lord Jaraxxus replaces Gul'dan as the hero, bringing with him his own 3/8 weapon and a new hero power. However, if his weapon is destroyed or stolen from him (or more unlikely simply gets used up), his response is "WHERE DID MY WEAPON GO?!"
    • In the unlikely event that both players are able to survive 19 turns worth of increasing fatigue damage (a combined total of 190 damage), the game will automatically end in a draw on turn 50.
    • In Curse of Naxxramas, in the event that a player uses a specific card against a Heroic boss who would be spectacularly weak to it, Kel'Thuzad will mock the player for taking the easy way out and negate the action without refunding the cost; complete with unique dialogue. Confirmed situations include using Alexstraza against the 99 HP Loatheb, and using the Doomsayer and Equality cards against the Four Horsemen, who start the fight with 3 2/7 minions on the board.
    • Gothik the Harvester's gimmick is that killing his minions spawns minions on your side that both cause damage to your hero and have zero attack. If you buff these minions so that they can attack, however, they will react with either "How? No!" (Spectral Trainee), "Shall not... control!" (Spectral Warrior) or "NOOOOO!" (Spectral Rider).
  • Down to the Last Play: Some games are very close and can easily be won by either player depending on how they spend their last turns. It's often the case that both heroes are low enough health so that the very next card-draw (for you or your opponent) will be the deciding factor.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: The Abusive Sergeant, "ADD ME TO YOUR DECK, MAGGOT!"
  • Dynamic Entry: Charge minions do not require a turn to get ready and can attack right away, leaving your opponent with no time to put up additional defences to counter their influence the first round. Similarly, Battlecry minions have an effect that takes place immediately, meaning that an opponent has no way to deal with their damaging effects.
    • Deathwing takes it Up to Eleven, and destroys all other minions when summoned, in addition to forcing his summoner to discard their entire hand.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Lord Jaraxxus, Eredar Lord of the Burning Legion is memetic for how ham-tastic all his lines are (minus his "Sorry" emote).
  • Exact Words: Failure to read a card's effects in-depth can lead to some nasty surprises. Most cards that affect all minions or characters will specify this, but otherwise unless a card specifies you or your opponent, assume it applies for everyone. For example, the legendary Kel'Thuzad brings allied minions that died each turn back to life once the turn is over. This includes both your and your opponent's turns!
    • Special mention goes to the warlock spell "sacrificial pact". Its card text simply states, "Destroy a demon, your hero gains 5 health." It doesn't specify whether or not that demon must be a minion, thus it becomes trivially easy for a warlock to kill JARAXXUS, EREDAR LORD OF THE BURNING LEGION
  • Explosive Breeder: Can be done with Shaman's Ancestral Spiritnote , Reincarnatenote  and Baron Rivendarenote . Watch it in action.
  • Explosive Overclocking:
    • If you raise a minion's stat too high, the game's number-calculation mechanicnote  will suddenly treat that number as negative. If that stat is health, this means the minion instantly dies.
    • Another example is the hand size limit. You are allowed to keep up to 10 cards in hand; if you must draw cards but you already have 10 cards in hand, the cards that you would have drawn are automatically discarded. And also revealed to your opponent as they burn, to add insult to injury.
    • The Warlock card Power Overwhelming fits this trope perfectly; it gives a friendly minion +4 Attack and Health, but that minion will die at the end of your turn. Horribly.
  • Feathered Fiend: The Angry Chicken
  • Finishing Move: Nearly all decks have some high-damage spell(s) or other instant damage to act as a finisher, such as the Leeroy Jenkins minion. This is especially important for rush or aggro decks who need to beat an opponent's HP down then finish the match ASAP.
  • Forced Tutorial: The player is put through a series of "quests" - battles against fixed opponents with stacked decks - to show them the ropes in a controlled environment. Finishing this unlocks the main menu.
  • Flavor Text: Many of the cards carry humorous text on them.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Hero-exclusive cards all fit the hero's theme, like having Beasts for Hunters/Druids, but Neutral cards are fair game for any deck. This can lead to some blatantly lore-defying situations like a Warlock having some holy knights fighting alongside his trademark demons or a Horde general having his forces composed of mostly cards aligned with the Alliance. It's even lampshaded with Cairne Bloodhoof's flavor text:
    Cairne was killed by Garrosh, so... don't put this guy in a Warrior deck. It's pretty insensitive.note 
  • Generation Xerox: If Cairne Bloodhoof gets killed, he's immediately replaced by his stat-identical son Baine. note 
  • Giant Spider: The Arachnid Quarter of Curse of Naxxramas is absolutely crawling with them. As for the final boss...
    Kel'Thuzad: "Maexxna is a GIANT SPIDER! MUWAHAHAHA!"
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: There isn't even an Excuse Plot, it's just Alliance and Horde (and neutral characters) in an inn, playing games with each other. Who says being sworn enemies on the battlefield means you can't enjoy a good drink and some trading card games?
  • Go Through Me: Taunt minions must be destroyed before you can attack cards without taunt or the enemy hero - with the exception of hero cards and spells, which make fair game of anything on the field.
  • Graceful Loser: Most heroes (with the exception of Garrosh) are this when they acknowledge their defeat in their Concede quotes. It's also customary to exchange "Well Played" emotes as a substitute for the time-honored "gg" or "good game".
  • Guide Dang It
    • The Hearthstone design philosophy for card text is to make the card text as simplistic and easy to read, but this ironically leads to cards that don't explain what it is they do without looking up the admittedly extensive websites that explain it properly. Ysera lets you draw a Dream Card? What's a Dream Card? Same goes for Elite Tauren Chieftain, which gives each player a Power Chord card. What are the Power Chord cards? Are they any good?
    • An instance that many a completely new player will and has run into: The Hunter has the basic starter card "Animal Companion", a spell that summons a random Animal Companion. Unless you look it up, you have no idea what Animal Companions are, which ones there are, and what each of them do.
    • Some card interactions that change in specific, usually rare, circumstances go unexplained until you try it out. Wild Growth says it gives you an empty mana crystal, but if you use it at full mana you suddenly get an Excess Mana card that costs 0 mana and lets you draw a card. This is the only way to get Excess Mana, so without online help the only way to know that happens is to just try it out of curiosity.
    • The Goblins vs Gnomes expansion added a new keyword that's described when you hover over cards: "Spare Parts - Spare Parts are 1-cost spells with minor effects." Which is great...except the game doesn't tell you what these Spare Parts actually are, and how many there are of them. The game doesn't provide any of way of figuring out what these are; they can't be seen in-game unless you're already in the middle of the match, so if you want to be prepared for these randomly summoned spells, you're gonna have to look it up elsewhere.
  • Hellfire: Purview of the Warlock class, from the aptly named Hellfire, Soulfire, Shadowflame, and Demonfire.
    Demonfire is like regular fire except for IT NEVER STOPS BURNING HELLLPPP
  • Herd Hitting Attack: All classes have at least one card that can damage multiple targets at once, and several neutral cards can do the same. These types of cards are usually what dismantle minion-rush decks by taking out many cheap minions at once.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The aptly-named Paladin secret Noble Sacrifice immediately summons a 2/1 Defender to Take The Bullet when an enemy attacks. Since he only has one hitpoint, he will almost certainly die to the attack.
    • The Mage secret Spellbender can do this by summoning a 1/3 Spellbender minion to become the target of an enemy spell, though this can also happen to defensive or buffing spells.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Late-game Paladin decks have a tendency to pull this off, recovering from early-game beatdowns with powerful healing effects from cards like Holy Light (2 mana for 6 health), Guardian of Kings (7 mana for a 5/6 creature that heals for 6), and Lay On Hands (8 mana for 8 health and 3 cards)
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • It's very easy to turn an enemy's advantage into one of your own. For example, countering a Lightwell, which heals friendly characters, with a Lightwarden, which gains attack power every time a character is healed, and unless they can stop it they can only watch as you turn that small 1/2 Lightwarden into a monster. Or encountering a 2/4 Frothing Berserker, which gains one attack every time any minion takes damage, which can become a huge problem if you can't kill it within one or two turns before it begins snowballing.
    • Priests have numerous spells that can crush an opponent with his own cards, including some that take possession of an enemy minion (temporarily or permanently) and a few that copies random cards from an opponent's deck...
    • On the other hand, Priests also have a number of cards that can turn healing powers into damaging powers, which can screw themselves over if they end up needing to heal themselves really badly but can't because their power is permanantly Shadowform (deal 2/3 damage)...
    • Most embodied by Faceless Manipulator. Goes into borderline Troll grade when done at the right time. Examples include using two of them (more likely in a control druid deck) to copy something like Ragnaros the Fire Lord. This includes even your own, making THREE of them spew 8 damage fireballs at the end of your turn.
    • Cards like Mad Bomber or Wild Pyromancer that can damage a player or their own minions can do this.
    • Cards such as the Northshire Cleric and the Cult Master allow the player who controls them to draw additional cards, but in the first place, you can only have up to ten cards in your hand, and if you're forced to draw additional cards they instead get discarded; in the second place, if the battle lasts long enough for that player to run out of cards, these minions instead accelerate the fatigue damage. Indeed, this is an effective way to defeat Noth in the Curse of Naxxramas expansion.
    • Feugen and Stalagg are minions that spawn Thaddius (who has the second most powerful combat stats in the game) if one dies after another has already died that game. This does not depend on who played the first minion to die, so a player can use the other player's minion to help spawn their own Thaddius. The most extreme example is the heroic Thaddius boss fight. During this fight, the boss spawns a feugen and stalagg on their own, although these do not spawn anything when they die. Their deaths do count, however, if the player uses their own feugen or stalagg. The thaddius fight thus allows a player to kill him with himself, and makes this process easier.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The last tutorial mission is against Illidian Stormrage, who, as the game tells you, you can't win against ("This fight is totally not fair. Blame the terrible game designers."). Subverted in that the decks are stacked so that he looks intimidating early on, but a bit later the player can easily turn it around, demonstrating how even losing battles can be won.
  • HP to One:
    • The Paladin spell Equality changes all minions' HP to one. It would be a real shame if the enemy Uther just happened to have a Consecration, Avenging Wrath, or played a Wild Pryomancer to sweep your side of the field...
    • The Hunter spell Hunter's Mark does this to one minion. Even if a Hunter has no minions to dispatch the marked minion, an easy follow-up is to use Unleash the Hounds to finish it off.
  • I Am Your Opponent: As Jaraxxus is summoned to the field, he makes clear that you will be facing him and not the puny warlock he just replaced.
    Jaraxxus: "You face Jaraxxus, Eredar Lord of the Burning Legion!"
  • An Ice Person: Mages can use a number of ice-based spells that usually involve freezing opponents (preventing them from attacking for a turn). It's possible to build a deck around this theme, in fact.
  • I Shall Taunt You: The game includes an emote system, which lets you threaten or taunt an opponent.
  • Jack of All Stats:
    • Jaina has quite a lot of utility, having a nice spread of spell cards.
    • Paladins in general have some of everything: healing, buffing, weapons, decent spells, in addition to never being short on minions. However, they usually aren't the best at any particular one of those, though they do have the most cards with the Divine Shield property.
    • In the metagame, a midrange deck is a mixture between an aggro deck (early-game) and a control deck (late-game). These usually do not have as much early game damage as an aggro deck nor the same stranglehold of the board as control decks, but they can do both simultaneously.
  • Joke Character: A couple cards seem to exist solely for comedic value. One example is the Angry Chicken, a 1-cost creature with one of the most powerful Enrage effects in the game (+5 attack, giving it a potential 6 attack for 1 mana). The problem? It only has one health, meaning it requires some form of health buff to activate its effect without dying. Said health buff is nearly always better spent on a more useful minion such as an Ogre or Yeti. That said, beating your opponent down with a chicken might be amusing enough for some players to do it anyway.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Player can concede (traditionally accompanied by a "Well Played" emote) when they know they can't win, in order to save their opponent the trouble of finishing them. This is usually realized by counting up the damage on both sides and realizing that their opponent can finish them off in the next turn before they can do the same. Some, however, insist on not quitting the game until the enemy player actually kills them, perhaps hoping that the enemy either doesn't realize that they a guaranteed victory or they make a mistake in the process, giving them just the last one or two turns that they need.
  • Large Ham: The Stormwind Champion and numerous other cards ham up their quotes upon being summoned and Jaraxxus is only not-hammy when he apologizes. Even the tokens of such minions are Large Hams, firmly dropping onto the table at high-speed.
    Stormwind Champion: "BEHOLD! the might of STOOOOOOOOOORMWIND!"
    Al'Akir, The Windlord: "WINDS! OBEY MY COMMAND!!
    Jaraxxus: OBLIVION!
    • In the Naxxramas expansion, Kel'Thuzad definitely qualifies for this.
    "Maexxna is a GIANT SPIDER! MUAHAHAHA"
    "Just being nearby Loatheb causes your flesh to rot. So I recommend a melee class."
    "You keep KILLING MY MINIONS. Stop it! Stop it right this minute!"
    "Of course I played well. I'm Kel'Thu-freaking-zad!"
    "Victory tastes so sweet... Like a milkshake. No, maybe more like a bar of chocolate."
    "My power is overwhelming! And yet, I did not die horribly at the end of the turn."
    • The characters themselves are pretty large hams when you consider the in-universe Excuse Plot that they're playing a card game at an inn. Phrases like "I will crush you!" somehow don't have the same impact when you're not actually in a combat situation.
  • Last Chance Hit Point:
    • The Paladin secret Redemption can do this by resurrecting a fallen minion with 1 HP left.
    • Jaina has Ice Block which stops any attack or spell that does lethal damage and makes her immune for the rest of the turn.
  • Leeroy Jenkins:
    • An actual card, even being voiced by the man himself. 5 mana, 6/2, has Charge (can attack immediately), and summons two 1/1 whelps for the opponent. At least he has angry chicken.
    • More generally, any card like the true Leeroy Jenkins card (low cost, high attack, low life, comes with Charge) is meant as a suicidal fast-hitting attacker that will usually die quickly.
  • Lethal Harmless Powers: Divine Shield grants invulnerability to one attack, which sounds like a purely defensive spell. Then keep in mind that all minions counterattack, so using it offensively effectively gives you a free kill for one mana (which can be rather cost efficient).
  • Lethal Joke Character: Joke cards can become lethal under the right circumstances.
    • Any Murloc rush deck, which depends on spamming Murlocs (the resident Butt Monkey and Joke Character) in large numbers early on then buffing all of them in order to steamroll the opponent before any high price-tag cards come into play. Surprisingly effective, if only because no one usually sees it coming - and even when they do, a properly-played Murloc deck is terrifyingly effective.
    • The Angry Chicken seems to have to put into the game specifically for players that want a challenging card to work with. It's the worst card in the game unless you can buff its health and then damage it, whereupon it's suddenly extremely powerful relative to its cost. Fear the Chicken synergy!
    • Sacrificial Pact for Warlocks is generally regarded as mediocre and/or counterproductive since it kills a Demon for +5 health, so unless facing another Warlock, it just reverses summoning a Demon . However, should the enemy Warlock sacrifice themselves to summon Lord Jaraxxus, he technically counts as a Demon, so using Sacrificial Pact will end the game on the spot.
    • Anything with 0 attack and high health (like the Lightwell) can be this in the hands of a Priest, using Divine Spirit to double that already high health and then Inner Fire to raise their attack to the same level. With just 5 mana, that 0/5 Lightwell would suddenly be a 20/20 Behemoth.
    • Fel Reaver from the Gv G set gets a bad rap because he makes you discard 3 cards every time your opponent plays a card. However, as explained here, discarding a good card does not guarantee you will draw it in the first place due to the random draw mechanic, and if you manage to win the game before you run out of cards, the Fel Reaver might as well have no drawback at all.
  • Lighter and Softer:
    • Compared to the rest of the Warcraft franchise, it's just a bunch of people (both Alliance and Horde) setting their differences aside to enjoy drinks and card games in a tavern. 90% of the cards' Flavor Text even puts a humorous spin on the more serious parts of the Warcraft canon when it comes to notable characters/factions.
    • The Curse of Naxxramas adventure mode is much lighter in tone compared to the original raid, with Kel'Thuzad sounding more like a comically bumbling necromancer who keeps assuring you that the next minion of his will surely destroy you.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: Alluded to with the 'Ice Lance' card, which freezes a character, or deals four damage if said character is already frozen.
  • Luck-Based Mission:
    • Thrall's ability summons a random totem out of a possible four (with the randomness, of course, diminishing when more totems are summoned).
    • The Hunters Animal Companion spell works essentially the same way, with 3 possible beasts summoned by it.
    • Also, many card effects that target random minions/characters. On one hand, their randomness allows them to go through protection effects which prevent you from targeting, say, a Stealthed minion with a kill spell. On the other hand, try killing that one stealthed minion with, say, Multi-Shot, when your opponent has more than two minions out in the field.
    • The Thoughtsteal card, which lets Priests copy two random undrawn cards from their opponent's deck, Mind Vision, which lets Priests copy a random card in an opponent's hand, and Mindgames, which lets you randomly summon a minion form your opponents deck to the battlefield.. You can use stolen cards no matter what, but it's up to the Random Number God whether you draw a game-winner and (hilariously) kill someone with their own trump card... or one that's entirely useless to you (getting a Rogue's Deadly Poison is no good without a weapon to use it on).
    • Perhaps best typified by the Warrior's Brawl. Destroy all minions (including yours) but one, chosen at random.
    • The opponents you get in general and their decks. Match-making does its best to match you with opponents of equal skill (especially during peak playing hours), but whether any opponent is bringing his trump deck (that may smash yours to pieces) or his cruddy experimental deck that he's tried once is all a matter of luck.
    • Arena mode. You get 90 random cards generated and have to make a deck by choosing 30 of them (1 per set of 3 presented to you). Other than having to be neutral or available to your hero, these can be any 90 cards, which makes for some... interesting possibilities. Will you get just the right cards for the strategy you were planning on or will your deck end up a train-wreck? Will you get the chance to pick from some epic or legendary cards or will you be stuck with bog-standard ones? Part of the fun of playing Arena is playing with decks that would be impossible or insane to run in Constructed mode, and then beat opponents with those decks anyway.
    • The Hunter class challenge from Curse of Naxxramas. The player's deck consists of nothing but 30 Webspinner minions, which upon death add a random beast to the player's hand. Made significantly less frustrating by the fact that the boss the deck faces is Loatheb, who is susceptible to the rushdown decks beasts are meant to specialise in.
  • Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: Many minions brandishing shields have defensive gimmicks. Garrosh can also Shield Block to generate a lot of armor points, and draw a card.
  • Magikarp Power: Many cards get buffed every time a certain action is performed by its player (or both players), like +1/+1 for Questing Adventurer every time a card is played or +1 attack for Mana Wyrm every time a spell is cast (which is very often for mages). It's important to kill these cards fast before their stats/bonuses snowball out of control. These sorts of cards are often called "soft taunts"- nothing is actually making you focus them, but only a fool would let them live for a moment longer than possible.
    • As far as decks go, some decks focus heavily on late game and don't try to dominate the board early on and just try to control the board and turtle (often called "control" decks). The risk of running such a strategy is that if one cannot hold off the enemy onslaught early on and they gain a significant advantage, the game might be lost before any heavy-hitters get a chance to be effective.
    • Say a Priest drops a 1/5 or some such creature with no taunt. Doesn't seem like it's worth taking out. Then on the next turn: double health (2 mana), double health (2 mana), attack = health (1 mana). Now it's a 20/20. This trope is why savvy players will kill each and every weak minion they can if their opponent might buff them. A 1/1 Silver Hand Recruit is laughable in the late game, but not if Uther buffs it with Blessing of Kings then Blessed Champion to make it a 10/5.
    • Special mention goes to Gruul, a legendary minion that starts 7/7 for 8 mana BUT gains +1/+1 at the end of every turn. Yes, both your and your opponent's turns. Either silence/eliminate him immediately or be prepared to face a a behemoth.
    • Bolvar Fordragon, a Paladin legendary minion with 1/7 stats for 5 mana. While he's in the player's hand, he gains +1 attack every time a friendly minion dies. When played normally, he's crap, but after a half dozen or so turns of holding him the opponent suddenly has a 9/7 to deal with.
  • Medium Awareness: Some cards seem to actually be aware that they are cards in a game, at least according to their card descriptions.
    Abusive Sergeant: ADD ME TO YOUR DECK, MAGGOT!
    • Kel'Thuzad also blurts out a meta comment if his underling Maexxna plays Sea Giant.
    Sea Giant? Maexxna, that is NOT on my approved card list!
  • Metagame: Mostly manifests in popular opinion of which deck(s) are strongest, which changes fairly regularly. Averted for the most part, since opponents are chosen randomly, it's a matter of luck whether one deck's central strategy counters the others', so even a "win against everything" deck is likely to run into a counter. Most of the meta-strategy comes from knowing the possible cards a particular hero has at their disposal then playing accordingly.
  • Mook Maker: Several heroes have plenty of cards/hero powers to make mooks, while some minions such as Onyxia can summon additional mooks.
  • Mutual Disadvantage: The legendary minion Nozdormu limits both players' turns to 15 seconds, a potentially useful effect if one is very quick at thinking on their feet.
    • Several cards will have a detrimental effect to all minions on the field (including yours). Destroying all minions (called "board-clear" or "wiping") can be beneficial if your opponent has a significant advantage.
  • Mythology Gag: Nearly all the bosses of the Naxxramas expansion are lifted directly from the original Naxxaramas raid in World of Warcraft. As such, there are several references to the characteristics of each boss and how each was fought, including some Ascended Memes like Heigan shouting "Dance, fools, dance!" in reference to the "Heigan Dance" re-positioning strategy.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Harrison Jones, a fedora-wearing explorer wielding a whip and goes "That belongs in a museum!" when he nabs the enemy's weapon. We can't imagine who he might be a reference to.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Stealth minions are just as visible as other minions, they just can't be targeted by enemy spells or attacks - multi-target damage may still hit them though.
  • Noob Cave: Practice mode, where players can face an AI of each hero using their basic deck. It's good to unlock the heroes and dry-run new decks, but can't be used to unlock most daily quests.
  • Now It's My Turn: How Aggro counter decks or strategies often play out. The opponent simply takes the early-game punishment while steadily setting up their board, then late-game, clear the opponent's field and dole out punishment of their own with a nigh impenetrable board, often while at low health.
  • Oh, Crap: The response of many a player once a legendary hits the field, or a seemingly innocuous card is buffed to high heaven.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: A brief riff of heroic-sounding chanting plays when either Tirion Fordring or Archmage Antonidas (the Paladin and Mage legendaries, respectively) are summoned. For those who are curious, the clips come from the Call To Arms theme
  • One-Hit Kill: A few different spell cards flat-out destroy a minion without registering damage, and almost every class has a unique one. A couple of minions will also instantly kill any minion that they deal damage to (whether by attacking or being attacked). Amusingly, Lord Jaraxxus is still considered a Demon when he replaces your Warlock hero, so he is vulnerable to another Warlock's Sacrificial Pact spell, ending the match on the spot.
  • Outside-the-Box Tactic: Buffing your enemy's minion? Using that Removal spell on your own minion? Forcing your enemy to draw more cards than he can handle? The possibilities are endless...
  • Play Every Day: Daily Quests actually avert this, since they get added automatically whether you log in or not, and that you can save up to three daily quests in your quest log. This means you merely have to log in and play every third day to get everything. note 
  • Playing with Fire:
    • Naturally, mages have a variety of fire magics in their arsenal, including Fireball (4 mana, deal 6 damage), Flamestrike (7 mana, 4 damage to all enemy minions), and Pyroblast (10 mana, deal 10 damage) in addition to their hero powers. If a mage possesses Archmage Antonidas (their legendary), every cast will generate another Fireball card. Including the newly spawned Fireballs.
    • The Wild Pyromancer. "Do you like to play with fire?"
  • Power at a Price:
    • The Warlock in a nutshell. Gul'dan has access to Demons that are very good for their cost in Mana, but cost him in other ways like HP, discarding cards, or breaking a Mana crystal. As a result of having access to heavy-hitters earlier than he ought to, the general strategy of Warlocks is to rush them and dominate the match before an opponent can catch up.
    • The Overload mechanic for Shamans. Cards that Overload cause the player to be short X number of Mana crystals next turn to balance out how abnormally strong the card is for its current cost.
    • As for Warriors, they have a lot of cards that are contingent on one's own minions being damaged.
    • Some Neutral minions also have high stats for their mana cost but with a catch. Some cause the enemy to benefit (giving them extra mana crystals, for instance) while others just impede your future turns (like jacking up your minions' mana costs).
    • Some Battlecry effects can become more of a disadvantage to the player if they wish to play the minion anyway, which might result in them having to silence one of their own minions or returning a minion to their hand without the usual benefit.
  • Power Equals Rarity: Zig-Zagged. Rarer cards tend to have better effects, making them more mana efficient than Basic ones.note  However, some Basic cards are considered very mana efficient for their cost, that they are considered the gold standard for their category. note 
  • Power Makes Your Voice Deep: The Questing Adventurer (3 mana, 2/2, gains +1/+1 for every card you play) has his voice grow deeper as his effect stacks.
  • The Power of Rock: Putting down the Elite Tauren Chieftain puts one of a handful of Magic Music riffs into both players' hands.
  • Practical Taunt: Minions with Taunt force opponents to go through them before minions without taunt, forming a very important line of defense for Glass Cannon creatures. Hero powers and spells go right by them, though.
  • Random Number God:
    • Just try to draw that one card which would wipe out your opponent's strategy when you need it most. Go ahead, try.
    • Many cards can deal random numbers of damage or target a random enemy. The RNG is affectionately referred to as RNGeesus among streamers, and you can expect prayers before a major play.
    • The Mad Bomber card (and later its bigger cousin, Madder Bomber) takes this trope to its logical conclusion: multiple damage spread out randomly among everything on the board. If the Random Number God is in a good mood, it can easily turn a game in your favor. Most of the time, it will just nuke everything on your side of the board.
    • Taken Up to Eleven in the so-called 'Randuin Wrynn' deck, which consists entirely out of cards with random elements to them. For extra fun, some of his cards copy random cards from the OPPONENTS hand or deck.
    • The Shaman's hero power summons a random totem out of a possible four. All but one of them have special effects that can be either quite useful or useless depending on the situation. However, if a specific totem is already on the board, it will not be summoned again, so the odds end up being in your favor when 2-3 are already set up.
  • Record Needle Scratch: Hitting the “Cancel” button while waiting for an opponent causes one of these, albeit a very short one.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Paladins can get the Avenge Secret by completing Naxxramas. If any of your minions die during the enemy turn, one of your minions get a +3/+2.
  • Rule of Funny: Most of the cards' flavor texts are written to be funny one way or another.
  • Sarcasm Mode: The emotes often come off as this to many people, which is made more ambiguous by the lack of any other chat in random play. It doesn't help that many of the heroes' voices sound smug and condescending.
  • Sequence Breaking:
    • Druids can make use of Innervate (+2 mana for that turn only) and Wild Growth (+1 empty mana crystal to be filled next turn) to play cards of higher mana cost that could normally be played at that stage in the game. Making shrewd use of two Innervates (plus The Coin card for another +1 mana) can lead to things like playing 6 mana cards as early as turn 1!
    • Rogue has a lesser version named Preparation, which gives them a 3-mana discount on their next card. On one hand, Preparation cannot stack with itself unlike Innervate, but on the other hand, 3-mana discount is still a huge discount.
    • The Giant Warlock deck (or Handlock) can do this in a sense. The whole point is to exploit his Gul'dan's hero power to keep hurting himself and drawing cards so that he can play Mountain Giant (12 mana, costs 1 less for each card in his hand) and Molten Giant (20 mana, costs 1 less for each point of damage your hero has taken) much faster than normal.
  • Shoot the Medic First: It's generally a good idea to target continuously healing minions (Lightwell in particular) as soon as possible before they become a nuisance. The Repair Bot has the unique distinction of randomly healing both friendly and enemy characters, making it a potential liability for its owner as well. The biggest of this is Kel'Thuzad, who will resurrect any dead minion at the end of every turn. Either you silence or take him out first, or your efforts will be futile.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Simple Yet Awesome: Bloodmage Thalnos is a 1/1 Legendary for 2 mana that adds +1 spell damage and a Deathrattle that draws you a card. Too simple to be worth silencing, he is considered an excellent addition in a wide variety of decks.
  • Situational Sword: Some cards are very good at dealing with certain situations only, but since opponents can come with any deck, it's a matter of luck whether they'll actually see any real use. One example is the Blood Knight, a 3-cost 3/3 minion who removes all divine shields on that are on the board at the time of play and gains +3/+3 for each shield removed this way. Extremely useful against (or for) Paladins and the non-class specific divine shield minions, but otherwise just an average 3-cost minion that could potentially take up a slot for a better card.
    • Big Game Hunter is another classic example, able to neutralize any minion with 7 or more attack when played... great against many Legendaries, but against rush decks that will rarely come into play.
  • Splash Damage Abuse: Like some other card games, AOE spells can be used to indirectly damage or destroy minions that cannot normally be targeted, usually because of Stealth, their inherent spell protection, or simply hiding behind an annoying Taunt minion.
  • Status Buff Dispel: Silence effects are useful for negating whatever buffs an opposing minion has (especially Deathrattle effects). The Priest spell Mass Dispel does this on all enemies at once.
  • Stonewall: Some taunt cards balance out high health with little to no attack power, though giving a creature the same attack power as their health can cost as little as one mana with the right card.
    • Some non-taunt minions also have these kinds of stats, making them perfect for other cards that give minions taunt.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: While it has existed since classic, GvG brought a multitude of explosive cards such as Darkbomb, Lightbomb, Madder Bomber, Bomb Lobber, and more.
  • Switch Out Move: The whole point of the Alarm-o-Bot is to sneak big creatures into play on the sly. Players of Animate Dead decks from Magic: The Gathering will feel right at home.
  • Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors:
    • Your deck will most likely be this: strong versus certain opponents and weak against others. An outdated example was the "Handlock", "Watcher Druid" and "Hunter Aggro" trifecta. Handlocks intentionally abuse their Hero Power to draw cards at the cost of life to place four massive Giant cards that the Druid has few ways to deal with. The Druid would play Ancient Watchers that are surprisingly resilient vs the Hunter's aggressive strategy. Finally, the Hunter would put out so much early-game pressure that would cause the Warlock to lose so much health it would become very risky to keep using his hero power.
    • Naturally, the metagame changes so there will be a different case of Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors every time. And of course, depending on the decks and player skill levels in question, decks can potentially beat decks intended to counter them.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: Loatheb in the Naxxramas expansion. He begins the fight with 75hp (in contrast to the standard 30), but the unique spell cards he uses create spores that, when defeated, give your minions +8 attack.
  • Tactical Withdrawal: Can be done with the battlecry effects of Youthful Brewmaster or Ancient Brewmaster, which sends an allied minion back to its owner's hand. One can make a strategy out of getting double use out of battlecry minions by summoning, withdrawing, then summoning again (or just to recall wounded powerhouses then re-summon at full health). Rogue also has a few cards that do the same, with one of them, Vanish, even causing minions to return en masse.
    • The Shaman "Reincarnation" spell works in a similar fashion, but destroys the target and then resurrects it, which not only skips the need to summon it again, but also triggers Deathrattle effects.
  • Take That:
    • The final tutorial quest is the first one to use all the rules and start the players off on even footing. The advice text tells you it's horribly unbalanced and you should blame the game designers. (Though ironically, your opponent does have some incredibly powerful creatures and cheap spells at his disposal, and the decks are stacked so you'll get an easy victory if you keep your head. The lesson here is to learn how it's always possible to turn a game around.)
    • The common Loot Hoarder card is a general Take That toward the more greedy players of World of Warcraft, specifically the line, "Mind if I roll 'Need'?" (A common way to hog loot used to be to click "Need" rather than "Greed" every time an item dropped, even if one didn't really need it.)
  • Take Up My Sword: Tirion Fordring, the Paladin-exclusive legendary minion, does this to Uther when he finally dies by passing on his Ashbringer, a potent 5/3 weapon.
  • Taking You with Me: Rarely, it is possible for games to end on a tie; but the only way to do so is to do something that kills both the enemy hero AND your own. This usually happens because one player cannot win, but can prevent the opponent from taking the victory. The game displays both hero frames exploding (signifying a loss); however, it does not actually count as a loss. For instance, should you end on a tie on an Arena run, it will not increase your loss count, nor your win count.
    • Perhaps the most spectacular way to accomplish this is to somehow acquire the Druid spell Tree of Life (restore all characters' HP to full) as a Priest and playing it while Auchenai Soulpriestess (turn all your healing effects to damage) is under your control. The result is the simultaneous implosion of every single minion and hero.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Deathrattle minions trigger their effect when they die - as such, it is sometimes beneficial to lose your minions. Go through the trouble of slaying the opposing Paladin's Tirion Fordring? The Ashbringer that Uther gets might be what he was really after all along. This is especially true when someone plays Baron Rivendare (which makes all Deathrattle trigger twice) on their turn and start killing off all their Deathrattle minions to get huge advantages. Other cards gain attack power when a minion - any minion - dies, with often ludicrous results.
    • One of the best examples is probably Sylvanas Windrunner, a 6 mana 5/5 whose Deathrattle will possess a random enemy minion when she dies. Opponents who cannot silence her are usually forced to expend their minions rather inefficiently to prevent them from being taken away, which is usually what her owner is counting on.
    • A smaller example is the Haunted Creeper, a cheap 1/2 spider that is ever so annoying for spawning two 1/1 Spectral Spiders when it dies. Just killed the spider? Great, now there's two more, and their combined attack is greater than the original spider. Even worse if there's something buffing every other minion, because now it's buffing two spiders instead of one.
    • Very dangerous when your opponent has Stalagg and Feugen on their deck. Both are cost-effective minions with good stats, and if one dies, if a copy of the other has already died before (including one belonging to your opponent!), it will summon an 11/11 Thaddius.
  • Trash Talk: Rather than allow direct chat between players, Blizzard limits in-match communication to a set of six emotes note . Players have developed a complex and nuanced language out of these emotes, managing to display frustration, sarcasm, and appreciation depending on the circumstances. If you don't want any of it, you can squelch your opponent.
  • Turns Red:
    • Enrage minions will trigger their effect when damaged, and this effect can be anything from massively increased damage to attacking twice a turn, making it prudent to finish them in one hit or at least minimize the damage they can do. Healing them to full again makes them calm down, though. A few cards have other similar gimmicks related to taking damage, and this can get out of control very quickly, for example, letting Frothing Berserker or Gurubashi Berserker alive for too long after they start taking damage can end the game fast. Appropriately enough, enraged minions have a red aura over their card art.
    • The Warrior can invoke this himself with Mortal Strike, which deals more damage if his health is low.
  • Unskilled, but Strong:
    • Patchwerk, one of the Naxxramas bosses, doesn't have any cards. That said, it can easily take you out in six turns because of its sheer power: a weapon that never runs out of charges (its deathrattle returns it to the boss's hand) and a hero power that destroys any minion.
    • The Ogre-type cards in the GvG expansion are powerful for their mana costs, but have a 50% chance of hitting the wrong target when they attack.
  • Unsportsmanlike Gloating: Despite only having the emote system for communication, GIFT is still in full effect and some people will spam emotes constantly, or just use emotes inappropriately, or just make unnecessary or pointless plays (like sacrificing minions without killing anything, or wasting spells that do little to nothing) before actually killing the opponent, just because they can.
  • Weak, but Skilled:
    • Some low-cost minions are nothing special in terms of stats, but have useful effects or have the potential to grow stronger- the challenge is keeping them alive long enough to be useful. For example, Alarm-o-Bot is a weak 0/3 for 3 mana minion, but it can potentially bring Deathwing straight to the field as early as turn 3, bypassing its detrimental Battlecry as well.
    • Al'Akir the Windlord, the Shaman legendary minion, can be considered to be this. It has 3/5 stats for 8 mana, which is beyond weak for its cost. However, it also has Windfury, Taunt, Divine Shield, and Charge properties, making it have the most effects of a single minion in the game.
  • We Cannot Go On Without You: Victory is decided based on whose main hero character reaches zero health first, regardless of what's on the rest of the board. A player can utterly dominate the field with a wall of minions that could steamroll the opponent next turn, but it's all moot if the other player finishes them off with a spell or hero power before that happens.
  • Welcome Back, Traitor: The Priest spell Shadow Madness takes control of a 3 attack or less minion until the end of the current turn. If it actually survives, it will go back to its original owner.
  • When Trees Attack: Malfurion has a few cards like this. He has a trio of huge Ancient minions that act as his exclusive heavy-hitters, and he can summon smaller Treants with a spell (either instantly or by giving his minions a Deathrattle) or with Cenarius' Battlecry effect.
  • Why Won't You Die?:
    • Some minions have a Deathrattle effect that immediately summons another minion of equal or weaker strength, notably the neutral common card Harvest Golem, the Hunter-specific Savannah Highmane and the neutral legendary Cairne Bloodhoof. This is a useful property, as it forces an opponent to either silence it or expend more cards/mana to take it out than normal.
    • This effect can be achieved through other means, such as the Paladin secret Redemption which will resurrect a destroyed minion with 1 HP left, making it more of a hassle to deal with. And then there's Priests, whose healing powers and cards can make killing a high-health minion take ridiculously long if you can't reduce its HP to 0 in one turn. There is also Shaman's Ancestral Spirit, which is a bit like Paladin's Redemption except that it resurrects a killed minion with full health.
    • Gothik The Harvester of Naxxramas summons minions that, when defeated, summons a minion without attack on your side of the field, each of these nigh-useless minions damages their owner for one health each turn. Taking up space and, because they're on your side, make them extremely difficult to get rid of for good.
    • Particularly frustrating and difficult with the Legendary minion Kel'thuzad, which resummons at the end of every turn all friendly minions that died that turn. Yes, every turn, including your opponent's.
    • The Goblins vs Gnomes expansion added three more, although unlike the other examples they spawn a random minion rather than a specific one. Piloted Shredder spawns a random 2 cost minion, Piloted Sky Golem spawns a random 4 cost, and Sneed's Old Shredder spawns a random Legendary! However, these minions typically cost more than the minions they spawn; Sneed's something of an exception, as there are other Legendary minions who cost 8 mana or more.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: Unlike most other card games, running out of cards in your deck will not instantly kill you, but rather every time you must draw cards, you will take incremental Fatigue damage, which will eventually do you in if the lack of new cards to play doesn't finish you off first. One can exploit this by somehow forcing an opponent to draw cards to kill them with Fatigue (by killing off all their minions while their Cult Master is in play, for instance) if it's not possible to just kill him directly.
  • Wolfpack Boss: The Four Horsemen are the boss of the Military Quarter. Even though only one of them is technically the enemy hero and has only 7 HP, the other 3 start as 1/7 minions on the field and make their hero immune as long as they are alive.
  • Wonder Twin Powers: The cards Feugen and Stalagg are 5 mana 4/7 and 7/4's respectively and aren't too amazing on their own. However if they BOTH die, they summon the 11/11 Thaddius minion.
  • You No Take Candle: The kobolds all invoke the trope upon being summoned. The kobold geomancer card even says this verbatim when summoned.
  • Zerg Rush: There are several cards that invoke this, and it's the basic strategy of a rush deck. Variants include:
    • Murloc rush, with the buff abilities of some of them being reliant on either having multiple murlocs, or summoning multiple murlocs.
    • Uther or Thrall, who summons low powered minions with their hero powers, can use this strategy too.
    • Onyxia's battlecry effect is to fill all remaining slots on your side of the board with 1/1 whelps.
    • The Hunter card Unleash the Hounds, which summons a 1/1 Hound with Charge for each enemy minion on the field. Gaining 4 Hounds can lead to eliminating a 4-health threat by just quickly brute-forcing it. If this spell is cast while the Hunter has a Starving Buzzard in play, they also draw a card for every hound summoned, fueling this trope further!
    • Druid has a spell that summons three Treants with Charge, but these Treants die when the turn ends.

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